John Wesley

John Wesley (1703–1791) is known for two things: co-founding Methodism and his tremendous work ethic. In the 1700s, when one’s options for land travel included walking, journeying by horseback, or riding in a carriage, Wesley logged more than four thousand miles a year. During his lifetime, he preached about forty thousand sermons. In 1729, he became a tutor at Oxford University, where he founded a religious club that people nicknamed the Methodists. In 1738, Wesley’s life was changed while attending a religious meeting in London. Someone gave a reading of Martin Luther’s Preface to Romans. Wesley later said, “I felt my heart strangely warmed.” Afterwards, he became a great preacher, traveling throughout the British Isles. Although he never intended to form a new church separate from the Church of England, his followers soon began to form their own organization. The Methodists placed great emphasis on living a holy life and they had many travelling preachers. After the American War of Independence, Methodism spread in the U.S. A professed opponent of slavery, Wesley published his Thoughts on Slavery in 1774. He preached his last sermon on February 23, 1791, and died a week later, on March 2, at age eighty-seven.

Books by John Wesley

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